"Cocktails with Cole Porter"
Ultra-Lounge, Capitol Records
asked, I will be the first one to sing the praises of Capitol's Ultra-Lounge
collection. They have done an amazing job at capturing the swing and swagger
of the 1950 and 60's lounge music. Each disc was built upon a theme like
Exotica, TV Town, and Saxophobia,
just to name a few. Since Capitol was home to some of the best artists
of that era, the producers of the Ultra-Lounge collection
had a vast catalogue of material to choose from. It's safe to save that
without Ultra-Lounge, the lounge music revival of a few years
ago wouldn't have been as strong. In fact, The Bachelor
Pad Radio Show may have never gotten off the ground if it wasn't for
It is the foundation on which the radio show's library is built on.
Now, no one will argue
Ultra-Lounge has lost a bit of steam in the last few years.
Most of the original producer have left to do other projects. Capitol Record's
attentions have gone elsewhere. For the most part, the
label has been left to wither on the vine, but every year or so we manage
to get a new collection from them. In 2003, it was Vegas
Baby! featuring some great gems from the golden age of Sin
City. This time around, Ultra-Lounge has tapped in the recent
Porter craze and pulled together what they could find for Cocktails
with Cole Porter.
Whereas past collections
were sharp and wonderfully surprising with their song selections, the tracks
choices on Cocktails with Cole Porter are uninspired. They
keep returning to the same artist throughout the album--Nat King
Cole, Peggy Lee, Kay Starr, and
Fitzgerald. In fact, the inclusion of Steve Lawrence's
version of "Night and Day" is surprising since it was also featured on
the previous collection Vegas Baby! There are some songs
on this disc that seems out for place. Judy Garland rendition
of "I Happen to Like New York" brings the collection to a screeching halt.
And the inclusion of her daughter, Liza Minnelli, just doesn't
fit since she made her career decades after most of the other artists on
This album is not without
a few gems. Louis Armstrong brings out a lot of Porter's
posh playfulness with "High Society Calypso" and the Peggy Lee/George
Shearing collaboration on "Always True To You In My Fashion" really
If someone really wants
great versions of Cole Porter tunes, search them out throughout
the rest of the Ultra-Lounge CD's. They're not hard to find.
Here are a few audio
samples: Nat King Cole "Just
One of Those Things," Ella Fitzgerald "It's
De-Lovely," Dean Martin "True
Love," and Tony Bennett & Count Basie "Anything
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